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Lots of things can happen in a few years, if your TNA/Impact Wrestling you can go through lowest of lows only to  make a big comeback and it maybe hard to believe but in just a few days "Pro Wrestling's Greatest Underdog" will be turning 20 years old.

Thanks to a combination of hard work, dedication, massive fan support and perhaps the biggest amount of luck any company (wrestling or otherwise) has ever had, Impact have gone from being a lesser known Southern promotion to an alternative to the WWE to the laughingstock of the wrestling world to being one of the biggest redemption's stories the industry has ever had.

There have been countless days that have helped to define this company for years to come but with the 20th anniversary aka Slammiversary 2022 right in front of us, now seems like the perfect time to go over the days (both good and bad) that have shaped Impact Wrestling into what it is today. 

Honorable Mentions

  • June 19th, 2002 (The First TNA Show)
  • June 26th, 2002 (AJ Styles Becomes The First X Division Champion)
  • June 4th 2004 (Debut Episode on Fox Sports Net)
  • October 4th, 2007 (IMPACT Goes to Two Hours)
  • April 29th, 2019 (The Launch of the IMPACT Plus App)
  • June 18th, 2003 (Sting’s TNA Debut)
  • January 15th, 2006 (Sting Returns To TNA) 
  • November 13th, 2005 (Christian Cage's Debut)
  • June 17th 2007 (Kurt Angle Becomes The First TNA World Heavyweight Champion)
  • September 20th, 2009 (The Introduction of the Knockouts Tag Team Titles)
  • May 31st, 2012 (The Creation of the TNA Hall of Fame and Sting’s Induction)
  • December 24th 2014 (The Last Episode of TNA Wrestling on SPIKE TV)
  • May 17th 2016 (The Debut of Broken Matt Hardy)
  • October 13th-November 11th 2016: The Billy Corgan Lawsuit
  • April 20th, 2017 (Impact Wrestling Mergers with Global Force Wrestling)
  • December 5th, 2018 (Scott D’Amore and Don Callis Announced To Be Executive VP’s of Impact Wrestling)
  • January 6th, 2019 (Impact Episodes Simulcasting on Twitch)
  • August 9th, 2019 (Anthem Buys Majority Stake of AXS TV)
  • October 29th 2019 (The Impact Debuts On AXS TV)
  • January 12th, 2020 (Tessa Blanchard Wins The Impact World Heavyweight Championship)
  • Feburary 13th 2021 (Impact and NJPW Partner Up Once Again)
  • April 25th 2021 (Kenny Omega Wins The Impact World Championship) 






























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10. July 22nd, 2018: Slammiversary 2018

By the start of 2018, expectations for Impact Wrestling to succeed were almost nonexistent as journalists were already looking to write the company's obituary following a decade of issues and negative press which they helped to fuel as the tribalism and bias that is well known in wrestling were starting to take shape on social media.

The team of Scott D'Amore, Don Callis and Anthem Sports and Entertainment had a herculean task on their hands to turn this company's image around and while promises of a new regime, the end of the GFW era and the success of the Redemption pay per view early in the year gave fans hope that things would get better, many others who turned away from Impact or never gave them a shot refused to believe there was any actual change going on...that is untill at that year's Slammiversary pay per view.

Impact's annual Summertime event, Slammiversary was on the horizon and a lot of people could tell that something special was going on with the former TNA Wrestling heading into this event.

As brand new wrestlers like Brian Cage, Tessa Blanchard, The Lucha Brothers and Su Yung became a part of the roster, the infamous baseball bat shot turn blood feud between Sami Callihan and Eddie Edwards became the biggest talking point of the year, the feuds involving the Original LAX vs. Santana and Ortiz, Pentagon vs. Sami and the main event between Moose and Austin Aries got a lot of people hyped for what was to come.

The return of legendary TNA voiceover guy, Barry Scott to do the cold open to start off the show, plus the scenery that was the Rebel Entertainment Complex and the fact that the event was a massive sell out and received universially positive reviews from journalists and non-Impact fans alike showed everyone that Impact Wrestling was making a comeback and things were getting interesting.

Sure, it took a lot more time for people to be truly convinced but Slammiversary 2018 was a massive statement to those who thought the company was dead...and that Impact Wrestling wasn't going away any time soon.

Road to Slammiversary 2018 Preview Show: The Uncut All-Access Special - YouTube

Day of Slammiversary: Go Behind the Scenes of IMPACT’s Smash Hit Pay-Per-View | IMPACT! Documentary - YouTube

The Emotional Cold Open for Slammiversary 2018 This Sunday - YouTube

LAX vs The OGz: 5150 STREET FIGHT (Slammiversary 2018) | IMPACT Wrestling Full Matches - YouTube






























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9. May 17th, 2007: TNA & NWA End Their Partnership

The National Wrestling Alliance aka NWA is basically the grandfather of professional wrestling as their influence has helped out many companies in North America from the Original ECW to WCW and of course TNA/Impact Wrestling.

Since the start of the promotion back in June of 2002, the NWA has been a part of the TNA/Impact lineage with Ken Shamrock becoming the first ever World Champion to be crowned in company history. The relationship between the two sides were seen as amicable for many years with TNA using the NWA brand to add some legitimacy to the burgeoning promotion while the NWA championships were being defended and appearing on TV to a new generation of wrestling fans.

This all changed in on May 17th 2007, when news broke that the five year partnership between TNA and NWA was coming to an end with TNA justifible thinking over the last several years that their brand was so white hot that they basically didn't need the NWA brand anymore also the company refused to inform the NWA board about title changes that were going to occur.

The announcement was made the same day TNA was scheduled to air it's Sacrifice pay per view and this led to some questionable booking when it came to the NWA title between Christian Cage, Sting and eventual winner Kurt Angle; The solution to this was stripping the nwa title off of Kurt Angle leading to a new TNA World Champion being crowned at that year's Slammiversary with Kurt Angle becoming the new champion.

This Day in Wrestling History (May 13): NWA Severs Ties with TNA - Cageside Seats

TNA TUESDAYS - SACRIFICE 2007 | Chris Sabin | Rhino | Samoa Joe | A.J. Styles | Kurt Angle | Sting - YouTube

My World #54: TNA Sacrifice 2007 - YouTube





























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8. September 11th, 2005 (That Five Star Match)

Wrestling is subjective plain and simple, what you might call the greatest match of all time may not be the same way to others, but I don't think it's bias to say that Impact Wrestling have had a lot of matches that deserved to be recognized as the all time greatest and in 2005 a certain wrestling journalist decided to give one of these matches a 'five star rating'.

While this match took place on the four year anniversary of one of the worse terrorists attacks to befall the United States, the show: Unbreakable 2005 is easily seen as one of the best in company history and that can be attributed to it's main event.

The three way X Division title match between AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels and Samoa Joe showed off three of best wrestlers to represent the high flying risk taking nature of the X Division with each man putting on a tremendous performance both in and outside the ring, in fact the match is so great that it wouldn't feel out of place in today's era of wrestling that's how good this three way title match is.

Now whether or not you think journalists giving star ratings to matches mean anything to you as a wrestling fan, it can't be argued that when news of this is revealed to most of the wrestling community they tend to pay closer attention to that company who just got a five star match and in TNA's case following Unbreakable, more and more people were beginning to see the company as competition to the WWE following the end of the Monday Night War.

And most of this and the reason why the X Division is so revered can be traced all the way back to this three way X Division title match.

Unbreakable 2005: AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe vs. Christopher Daniels - YouTube































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7. March 13th, 2011 (The Jeff Hardy/Sting Incident)

Jeff Hardy is perhaps the most tragic while at the same time most fortunate man in professional wrestling as the high flying daredevil who would become a multiple time world and tag team champion, that said his also spent most of his life in a constant battle with the issue that has plagued so many other celebrities before him: Drugs and Alcohol.

The Charismatic Enigma's substance abuse issues are about as well known to many as Vince McMahon's love of big muscle bound wrestlers and his problems with drugs and alcohol led to Jeff Hardy losing important opportunities in his career and almost losing his life with perhaps the blackest moment in Hardy's career and in the history of Impact Wrestling would be at the Victory Road pay per view in 2011.

After losing the Impact World Heavyweight Championship to a returning Sting on an episode of Impact, Jeff Hardy got his rematch in the main event at that year's Victory Road event.

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Now you probably don't need me to explain to you what happened in this match but all you do need to know is that everyone including Sting was pissed at what had transpired, Jeff Hardy was taken off of TV to sort out his problems and the incident became a public embarrassment for the company as well as for the Hogan/Bischoff regime who already were having mixed results with fans who weren't too pleased with how everything that they knew about the company had drastically changed under their control.

Jeff Hardy would return to the company late in the year to apologize for what happened and asked everyone from management to the men and women in the locker room to the fans to give him one more shot and after awhile they did, so much so that at Bound For Glory 2012 he would become the new world heavyweight champion and would continue to be sober and drug free during the rest of his time with the company until he left in 2017.

Jeff Hardy vs. Sting - TNA Victory Road 2011 (Hardy's Drug Incident) - YouTube

Jeff Hardy Talks about "The Sting Incident" on Colt Cabana Art of Wrestling Podcast - YouTube

The Return of The Enigma Jeff Hardy - YouTube


































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6. January 4th, 2010 (Hulk Hogan’s TNA TV Debut)

So I briefly mentioned how the Impact fans reacted to the era of Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff in TNA but now let's talk about how it all began when the red and yellow superstar debuted for the company.

On October of 2009 one of the best names in this industry, Hulk Hogan had signed with TNA which was a major deal as Hogan was one of the biggest stars for Vince McMahon and the WWE in the 1980's and early 90's so to see one of McMahon's most famous stars leave and sign with his competition made people believe it was the Monday night wars all over again.

On the January 4th 2010 edition of Impact, Hulk Hogan made his debut in the Impact Zone to a ruckus and energetic crowd, however some familiar faces in the form of Scott Hall and Sean Waltman (aka X-Pac) and Kevin Nash entered the ring chatting with The Hulkster about how things in TNA are gonna be similar to those in WCW but Hogan disagree which was further followed up by Eric Bischoff who said that "Everybody has got earn their position in this Business".

Both Bischoff and Hogan concluded the segment by saying that things are going change in TNA and they even ripped up the format sheet in the middle of ring before saying that they were going to turn TNA upside down and boy were they right about that with the ability of hindsight.

I won't go into everything wrong that occurred under the Hogan/Bischoff Regime as that will take way too much time but what I can say is that the financial problems, being called WWE lite, mishandling of talents/booking and so much more occurred.

While the regimes of Dixie Carter, Billy Corgan and Jeff Jarrett/GFW helped in furthering the problem, it all started when the Hulkster and Easy E arrived in 2010.

The Complete Hulk Hogan Press Conference - YouTube

TNA iMPACT From January 4 (Part 6) Hulk Hogan's Debut on iMPACT! - YouTube






























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5. January 9th, 2014 (AJ Style’s Last Match In TNA)

Just months following the end of the Hogan era in TNA, the Dixie Carter onscreen regime began and it's safe to say that things didn't start off so well especially when it came to the departure of the company's most well known star.

Towards the end of 2013, Dixie Carter had turned heel after AJ Styles cut a shoot promo where he mentions that he doesn't have a contract with TNA anymore and that he blames all of the problems involving the company on her; This would lead to a feud that looked similar to Vince McMahon and Stone Cold Steve Austin but you couldn't tell if the emotions or animosity was scripted or real. 

At that year's Bound For Glory main event, AJ Styles defeated Bully Ray to become world heavyweight champion and beat him again in a rematch before leaving the building similar to how CM Punk did in the WWE at Money In The Bank 2011; Dixie decided to vacate the title soon afterwards and announce that a tournament would be made to crown a new champion which happened after Magnus aligned himself with the then TNA President defeating Jeff Hardy to become the first British born wrestler to become a world champion in company history.

On the January 2nd 2014 edition of Impact, AJ Styles returned to crash the celebration of the new world champion and mentions how he still has the original belt before Magnus proposes that next week there'll be a title unification match between Styles and himself, to which AJ agrees.

Last Match For AJ

The match if you can call it that on the January 9th 2014 edition of Impact basically saw every male wrestler who was heel on the roster come out and screw over AJ Styles before Magnus was able to pin the Phenomenal One and become the unified World Heavyweight champion; Magnus took AJ's new contract and ripped it into pieces, Dixie got into AJ's faces saying a handful of things as the show fades to black.

This would be AJ Styles' last match with Impact Wrestling (as of late) and became the moment that many fans began to turn away from the company as the face that ran the place was gone before he started to wrestle in New Japan and became a part of the WWE in 2016.

Within the months and years to come, more TNA Originals like James Storm, Bobby Roode, Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, Eric Young, Chris Sabin, Velvet Sky and Abyss would leave the promotion further adding to the problems the company were facing around this time. While Impact and AJ Styles nowadays have proven that they don't need each other to remain successful in wrestling, the end of the phenomenal one's time in the company that made him famous and vice versa was truly a sour note to end on. 

World Title Unification Match: AJ Styles vs. Magnus (January 9, 2014) - YouTube

































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4. October 1st, 2005 (TNA Debuts On Spike TV)

After spending the first two years running shows as weekly pay per views, Impact decided to take the next big step and secure themselves a TV Deal which they did with Fox Sport in May of 2004 with the very first episode airing in June of that same year.

However after 51 episodes and almost an entire year with on the channel, the deal between Impact and Fox Sports came to an end with the final episode airing on May 27th 2005. Despite this setback, Impact was already at the height of it's popularity in the mid 2000's and so the company was able to secure another deal this time with the widley successful channel, Spike TV nowadays the Paramount Network.

The shows would air on Saturdays nights in the beginning but eventually they were able to be settled into the Thrusday Night timeslot and soon the company would start to make big moves like international deals, popular celebrities and athletes making appearances on the show and even going to High Definition in 2008.

Both Spike and Impact/TNA benfitted from this partnership but as well all now this didn't last as Impact would be cancelled from Spike TV in late 2014 leading to a period of channel hopping for the company before finally having a stable network to fall back in 2019.

iMPACT! First Episode (June 4, 2004) | FULL SHOW - YouTube

Watch IMPACT'S FULL 2005 Spike TV Debut Episode! | IMPACT Wrestling Full Shows - YouTube






























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3. October 24th, 2006 (Kurt Angle Is Coming To TNA Wrestling)

A few months following the previous entry, TNA Wrestling would have it's 2006 edition of their No Surrender pay per view take place with most of the matches being good to great overall, however it wasn't the matches that people were talking about as the show was coming to close.

After losing a lumberjack match to Samoa Joe in the main event, Jeff Jarrett then encountered then TNA authority figure, Jim Cornette who revealed that their was big announcement which was the fact that TNA was going to become a two hour show as opposed the one hour format they had done prevously.

But the real big announcement came when a video package narrated by the late great Barry Scott showed a man perform moves inside a wrestling ring and at the end of that video that man is none other than Kurt Angle who looks directly into the camera and says "It's Real...It's Damn Deal!".

The crowd reaction and the reactions of commentators Don West and Mike Tenay were the stuff of legend as TNA Wrestling basically signed up one of the greatest athletes in all of professional wrestling onto their roster and a headbutt to Samoa Joe on an episode of Impact, more than dozen championships wins, the creation of the main event mafia and a 10 year run in the company later and Kurt Angle announcement in coming to TNA still one of the all time best.

TNA: Exclusive Footage From No Surrender PPV - YouTube

Off Air reaction from TNA No Surrender 06 (Kurt Angle Debut) - YouTube

Kurt Angle's Epic Debut in IMPACT Wrestling (Oct 19, 2006) | Classic IMPACT Moments - YouTube































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2. October 14th, 2007 (Gail Kim Becomes The 1st Ever Knockouts Champion)

It may be hard to believe considering how much emphasise the current regime seems to give Slammiversary, but for a long time Bound For Glory would rival if not in some cases outshine Slammiversary in terms of iconic moments and matches. 

Undoubtably the great example of this would have been BFG 2007 when Gail Kim became the inaurgual TNA Knockouts Champion defeating host of other knockouts to make this happen.

As the story goes Gail Kim was hoping to have some women's wrestling involved in TNA and even Jeff Jarrett himself promised that it would indeed happen, as time went by however it appeared that company wasn't taking any steps to start a proper women's division and this got Gail upset to point that she was ready to head out of the company preparing to give her notice to the higher ups.

Thankfully, the company would begin taking the steps to create a women's division with former WWF superstar Jacqueline Moore being the first of many enemies for Gail and soon more ladies like Awesome Kong plus those that were currently on the roster like Traci Brooks, Angelina Love, Velvet Sky, Roxxi, Shelly Martinez and ODB would take part in a gaunlet match to crown the first ever Knockouts Champion.

Gail would win that match and the title thereby taking the first steps in crementing herself as a legend in the industry.

Bound For Glory 2007 - Knockouts Gauntlet Match - YouTube






























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1. January 4th, 2017 (Anthem Sports Buys Impact)

It's no secret that TNA/Impact Wrestling was struggling financially in the mid to 2010's as Dixie Carter's family decided that they were done hemorrhaging funds to an organization that was struggling to keep management never mind the actual talent.

Things really looked bleak in 2016 as it appeared that TNA or at least it's video tape library was going up for sale and two major entities: Sinclair Broadcasting and the WWE were looking to buy with one already acquiring the rights of Ring of Honor and the other just looking to purchase the tape library to put on the WWE Network.

However due to some impressive luck at the last minute, a company by the name of Anthem Sports & Entertainment can in and bought the rights to Impact Wrestling which then led to them buying AXS TV which was a channel that was no stranger to professional wrestling and put Impact on it in late 2019.

While AXS TV's viewership numbers in the U.S. isn't as high as others, it does give Impact the benefit of not having to worry about facing cancellation or making drastic changes due to poor ratings like their comptemporaries. Not only that but with Impact's various international TV Deals, uploading full episodes onto their YouTube channel and the creation of the Impact Plus App helps to make sure the company content gets seen by more people.

After much years of instablity finally, Impact had the backing they so desperately needed while also landing on a channel that basically gave them the freedom to do whatever they want while rebuilding the promotion's image and slowly expanding it's reach to more households around the globe...It's a long term strategy that has a chance of succeeding but the fact that Impact has that chance despite every it's been through wouldn't be possible if Anthem Sports never bought Impact Wrestling in early 2017.

Anthem Sports & Entertainment Acquires Control of IMPACT Wrestling (anthemse.com)







If you enjoyed this article, be sure to follow me on Twitter @hakeemfullerton and for more wrestling related content, be sure to follow Wrestling News World on Twitter @wnwnews.

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